Comelec may declare Negros Oriental election hotspot for BSKE

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) sees Negros Oriental, which has several incidents of politics-related violence including the killing of Governor Roel Degamo, as a "possible contender" to be declared a hotspot area, chairman George Garcia said on Thursday.

Garcia said areas to be tagged as hotspots pose a "serious challenge" to the upcoming Barangay and Sanggunihan Kabataan Elections (BSKE).

"We already pinpointed certain areas in the Bangsamoro and, of course, Negros Oriental is a possible contender for being a hotspot area and other areas in Northern Luzon," Garcia told CNN Philippines' The Source.

Election hotspots, or "areas of concern," are local areas with a history of election-related violence, possible employment of partisan armed groups, and the occurrence of politically motivated election-related incidents.

The chairman said the poll body will be in talks with the Philippine National Police to determine election hotspots that should be placed under Comelec control or considered of "serious concern."

Senator Francis Tolentino last month sought to postpone the elections in the province due to increasing cases of political violence.

Nine Negros Oriental mayors also suggested to put off the BSKE in the area, citing a "lingering atmosphere of terror" following the aftermath of Degamo's murder.

Law enforcers, however, have reported that crime incidents in the province have declined

Grounds for postponement of elections include rebellion, insurrection, violence, terrorism, loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, force majeure, and other similar causes of such nature that prevent the holding of a free and orderly election.